‘High Tea’ Cucumber-Chutney Sandwiches

I grew up eating these delicious, light, fluffy sandwiches. My fondest memories of my summer days when I was in school include going for a rigorous swim, after which my mom would whip up these sandwiches for a light snack. These are often served in homes in India, and my guess is that this was India’s version of the British ‘tea sandwiches’. In India, they slather on butter instead of cream cheese, but I prefer the lightness (and lower calories) of using a light whipped cream cheese.

If you are making these for a party and want a sleek presentation, cut off the ends of the bread slices before cutting them into thirds for bite-sized sandwiches. When making these at home, I prefer not wasting the ends of the bread, and quite frankly, I love the rustic look! 馃檪

Enjoy this airy (and deliciously vegetarian) recipe from my childhood days. Share them with your kids, family, and friends and pair it with a delicious cup of cardamom tea to feel like royalty and have high tea! 馃槈

Love,
Priyanka

Cucumber and Chutney Sandwiches PK
Yields: 1 beautiful sandwich
Ingredients
2 slices of white or buttermilk bread (or any other bread you enjoy)
1 tablespoon of light, whipped cream cheese
2-3 tablespoons of cilantro-mint chutney
1/4 cucumber, thinly sliced into disks
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
Fun idea: Stuff these sandwiches with some crispy chips like doritos for an added crunch!

Directions
Spread the cream cheese on one slice of bread. Now lightly salt and pepper this piece of bread. Now spread the chutney over the cream cheese (this minimizes the bread getting soggy from the chutney). Now arrange the slices of cucumber on top of either side (you can add less or more cucumber according to taste).

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Healthy Nachos

Have you guys been tempted by the oozy, amazingness of cheesy nachos at a baseball game or your local taqueria? DON’T DO IT!!! There is absolutely no reason to take in that synthetic, re-heated cheese and poison your body with it, when you can make even tastier nachos at home with real cheese! 馃檪 This is a no-cook recipe that takes less than a few minutes to assemble and less than 2 minutes in the microwave. A one-plate meal or finger-food, depending on what your craving is. Serve this as a hot appetizer at your next party too!

Enjoy!

Love,
Priyanka

Nachos PK

Ingredients
tortilla chips, of your choice (white corn or yellow)
one can of black beans, drained
finely diced onion
grated cheese of your choice (I prefer using a blend of mozzarella and cheddar, or you can also use a ‘mexican blend’ found at most grocery stores)
sliced green chili
salsa, of your choice (I like to use both salsa verde and a corn salsa!)
sour cream
Optional topping: grilled chicken or rotisserie chicken

Directions

Fill a microwave-safe plate with tortilla chips. Top with black beans, onion, cheese, chili slices (and cooked chicken, if you want). Microwave for approximately 1 minute 30 seconds (depending on your microwave strength) until cheese is perfectly melted. Top with salsas of your choice and drizzle with sour cream. Enjoy hot! 馃檪

Grilled Corn with Cotija Cheese, Cayenne & Lemon

Hi my loves! This summer, you MUST get outside and grill some beautiful corn! This preparation of eating whole corn on the cob is a mix of my experience eating road-side roasted corn in India with my love for Mexican flavors (i.e. the salty Cotija cheese!). This is an easy appetizer to complement your grilled vegetables and meat at your next outdoor soiree. Enjoy!

Love,
Priyanka

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Ingredients
4 corn on the cob, husks removed but stem attached for easy handling on the grill
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup crumbled cotija cheese (available at most mexican supermarkets)
1 lemon, cut in half

Directions
Grill the corn on the cob directly on the grill until done to your liking. Meanwhile, prepare your cayenne-lemon paste. In a small bowl, juice the lemon halves and add the cayenne pepper. Using one of the lemon halves as a ‘spoon’, mix these two ingredients into a paste and reserve this lemon half to apply the paste to the corn! Just leave it in the bowl.

Once your corn is grilled, apply the cayenne-lemon paste to the corn using the lemon half. Finish the preparation by sprinkling the beautiful cotija cheese on top and enjoy hot! 馃檪

Quick Padr贸n Peppers

Padr贸n peppers (also known as Spanish pimientos de Padr贸n), are my favorite kind of green peppers because they are crispy, mild-tasting, and occasionally give you a spicy surprise! These beautiful peppers come from the ‘capsicum’ family (better known as bell pepper in the US), and this preparation is my favorite way to eat them (and they are my husband’s favorite healthy snack!). Rumor has it that the peppers grown towards August/September tend to contain more capsaicin (spiciness) than the ones of June/July.

All I know is that when spring and summer comes around, I go hunting at local farmer’s markets for these gorgeous peppers. If any of you have kids, let it be known that I fed these to my 8-year-old nephew who was visiting from India, and he LOVED them. His mom claims that he usually doesn’t eat vegetables, so moms out there, maybe this is your answer to getting your kids to eat some greens.

Enjoy! 馃檪

Love,
Priyanka

Padr贸n Peppers PK

Ingredients
2 cups of raw padron peppers, washed and dried
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive-oil
Kosher salt, to taste
freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
fresh lemon juice

Directions
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil and add padr贸n peppers. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, and lemon juice and cook for approximately 5 minutes, stirring every other minute. You want to let the peppers blister a little, so don’t worry if some sides are blackened (that’s when they are most delicious!).

Take them off the heat, sprinkle with more salt, if desired, and enjoy hot! Note: Don’t eat the stems, but use them to hold the hot peppers while you eat 馃檪 Enjoy! 馃檪

Smoked Salmon Crostinis

I make these crostinis a lot, but I made them recently and they flew off the table so quickly, that I realized that I just had to blog these for you. I get that warm and fuzzy feeling when a NO-COOK recipe is enjoyed so thoroughly (and I hardly had to do anything!). This recipe is simple, delicious, and easy to whip up as a beautiful appetizer for an impromptu meal or even a fancy shin-dig you had planned eons earlier. The salty bite of the capers is ever-so-important, so don’t forget those! And of course, one cannot over-stress the importance of fresh dill alongside gorgeous salmon slices. This is not season-specific so enjoy this recipe in summer, spring, or even winter!! PS…did I mention this is a NO-COOK RECIPE? 馃槈

Enjoy!

Love,
Priyanka

PS – I apologize in advance for being so general about the amount of the ingredients, however how much cream cheese and salmon you put on the baguette really depends on your personal preference (and the width and size of your baguette, which I simply cannot guess). Feel free to be as stingy or generous as you want with these ingredients 馃槈


smoked salmon crostini PK

Ingredients
1 fresh baguette (I prefer using garlic baguette to get that extra flavor, but you can use any baguette you enjoy)
2 teaspoons melted butter in a small cup
wild smoked salmon, amount to your taste (wild smoked salmon is amazing and much better than regular–splurge! the difference is noticeable)
cream cheese, amount to your taste
fresh dill, one sprig per baguette slice
capers, drained (you can buy these in a jar)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Meanwhile, slice your baguette diagonally into approximately 1/4 inch thick disks. Place the slices on a cookie sheet or a flat baking pan. Brush them with the melted butter, sprinkle them with a dash of Kosher salt and into the oven they go for approximately 4-5 minutes. Flip the pieces of baguette at this point and check for doneness. [Note: You don’t want both sides to be super crispy! Lightly toasted is what we are going for here].

Remove the baguette slices off of the pan and let them cool for a few minutes. Spread cream cheese onto them, top with wild smoked salmon, and garnish with sprigs of fresh dill and capers. Serve immediately and enjoy! 馃檪

Sweet & Spicy Baked Chicken Wings

I can’t explain why, but I had not made chicken wings, ever…until recently, that is. We had gone to a friend’s home for a potluck, and I fell in love with the wings they served. My friend shared the recipe she used, and I’ve tweaked it a little bit and made it spicier since my husband loves his spice! It’s based off of Food and Wine’s recipe from Carmel-based chef Tim Wood.

And this is the first recipe that I’ve tried, tested, and loved. Perhaps it was my fear of eating fried food, but this recipe is BAKED! Yet, you end up with a beautifully crisp, sweet, and spicy chicken wing done just right.

Serve this at your next party has a main dish accompanied by a side or noodles, and you’re all set – people will be raving and asking for your secret recipe! 馃槈 Enjoy!

Love,
Priyanka

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Yields: Approximately 4 servings
Ingredients
3 pounds chicken wings
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder (if you want this to be more kid friendly, you can omit the chili powder)
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Garnish: 2 scallions, thinly sliced

Preheat your oven to the ‘broil’ setting (if your oven does not have this setting, no problem! heat it to 500 degrees F).

In a large bowl, toss the chicken wings with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the wings on a sheet pan and place on lower rack of oven. Broil for 45 to 50 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces over using tongs once every 15 minutes, until the wings are cooked through and crisp.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, crushed red pepper, and chili pepper. Heat over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer (this will happen quickly!). Simmer for 1 minute. for 1 Take it off of the heat and let it cool completely (to quicken the cooling process, pour out the mixture into a glass bowl). Once cool, whisk in the honey and soy sauce.

In a large bowl, carefully toss the chicken wings with the honey-soy mixture. Transfer the wings to a platter, sprinkle with the scallions and serve HOT! 馃檪

Oven-Roasted Lamb Kefta (Meatballs)

I love this recipe because of it’s simplicity, ease of putting together, and bold flavor profile. The spiciness of the chili powder contrasting with the rich flavors of the cinnamon, cumin, and garlic literally create a party in your mouth. My signature on these meatballs is the addition of fresh pesto – in my opinion, adding the pesto adds a nuttiness and a little fattiness that keeps the meatballs incredibly moist and divine.

You can serve these alone with some fresh yogurt to dip into (or get fancy and serve it with some tzatziki for an authentic Greek feel!). Make it a meal by stuffing whole-wheat pitas along with some lettuce and tomatoes and there you have your lunch and/or dinner ready! Or you can even throw these delicious meatballs into some tomato sauce and simmer them until ready, and you have a gorgeous lamb meatball in tomato-sauce dish that you can serve over cous cous or rice.

The options are endless, and I see this healthy, oven-roasted lamb kefta as a base recipe that can serve as a one-bite appetizer at a fancy party, or as the filling of a sandwich the next day for lunch (although it is highly unlikely there will be any leftovers of this recipe) 馃槈

Enjoy! And be sure to share this one with your family and friends, as all good food should be!

Love,
Priyanka

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Yields: Approximately 12 appetizer-sized meatballs

Ingredients

1 pound ground lamb (can substitute ground chicken, beef or turkey and still get a great result!)
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons of homemade pesto (or any store-bought pesto works great too!)
1 medium white or yellow onion, minced
1 egg
1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint (or you can use dried mint)
Garnish: fresh mint leaves

Directions

Place lamb, cumin, paprika, chili powder (optional) garlic powder, celery seed, seasoned salt, cinnamon pepper, pesto, onion, egg and mint together in a bowl.

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Mix evenly using clean hands [I prefer putting on clean, disposable gloves and then mixing. For some reason, mixing ground meat with your hands is the best way to incorporate all the ingredients! No kitchen tool can replicate what your hands can do :)]

Mix gently until evenly combined. Form mixture into 12 meat balls (I use a 1/4 cup measure for each meatball – or you can use an ice cream scoop or melon baller, size of your choice). Round off each meatball in your hands using a circular motion, and place each meatball on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Chill kefta until ready to use (up to 2 hours in refrigerator).

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Note: There are two ways to cook the kefta – you can lightly fry them on the stovetop or bake them in the oven.

Method 1: Heat extra-virgin olive oil in saute茅 pan. Once the oil is hot, add meatballs (be careful not to overcrowd the pan with too many meatballs (if needed, cook in batches). Turning the meatballs occasionally for even cooking, cook for about 6-8 minutes until desired exterior crispness and interior doneness.

Method 2: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the 12 meatballs on the baking tray you prepared them onto and bake on the center rack of the oven for 15-20 minutes until browned as desired. Serve hot with yogurt, red onions, and cucumber slices! Pair with flatbread, pita bread, or fresh rice for a whole meal! 馃檪